February 26, 2012

Rasmussen poll: "just 24% of Likely U.S. Voters favor applying affirmative action policies to college admissions."

"Fifty-five percent (55%) oppose the use of such policies to determine who is admitted to colleges and universities."
The national telephone survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted February 22-23, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports.
The reason for the poll is, apparently, that the Supreme Court announced last Tuesday that it would hear the University of Texas affirmative action case. It's interesting to me that the poll is of likely voters. Presumably, public opinion influences at least some of the Justices to some degree. Do we as a people think taking race into account — for purportedly benevolent purposes — is good or bad? There are approaches to constitutional interpretation that would find a place for information like that.

But why should we care in particular about likely voters? Various political candidates need to figure out how to persuade us, the likely voters, to view them in a favorable light. If affirmative action is going to be in the news because of the pending Supreme Court case, candidates will need to talk to us about it, including — if they are running for President — who they'd put on the Supreme Court. If likely voters fret about access to contraception, they may lean toward Obama: He'd better appoint the next couple Justices. But if they can be made to worry about affirmative action — based on that Rasmussen poll — perhaps they'll think: Better give the appointments to Romney/Santorum.

44 comments:

Writ Small said...

Poll results a consequence of Obama's presidency.

Hagar said...

If likely voters fret about access to contraception, they may lean toward Obama: He'd better appoint the next couple Justices. But if they can be made to worry about affirmative action — based on that Rasmussen poll — perhaps they'll think: Better give the appointments to Romney/Santorum.

Huh?
Does the Professor have a bad cold this morning?

Rialby said...

" If likely voters fret about access to contraception, they may lean toward Obama"

Thanks for falling into the trap. Like Chris Matthews (a practicing Catholic) said in the intro to his 6am show this morning - Republicans are trying to ban contraception!!

NOBODY is trying take away ACCESS to contraception. Shit, even 8 year olds can probably get condoms if they want them.

Ann Althouse said...

"Thanks for falling into the trap. Like Chris Matthews (a practicing Catholic) said in the intro to his 6am show this morning - Republicans are trying to ban contraception!!"

You're criticizing my comprehension while reading my sentence that poorly?!

Rialby said...

A niggling point here but you don't frame the arguments equally - "access to contraception" vs. "about affirmative action".

I would suspect that if affirmative action is really seen as threatened, that poll will start to move because nearly everyone in this country is worried about being labeled a racist. As soon as ABCCBSNBC start running reports about all of the successful black people who would have died penniless in the ghetto had it not been for affirmative action, you'll see emotion swing the other way.

Lem said...

But if they can be made to worry about affirmative action.. the worry makers would have to start worrying about themselves and the perception (800 pounds) that they are making people worry thru the prism of Obamas race.

The safe bet is just not to touch it.

edutcher said...

We care about likely voters because they're they're ones most likely to go to the polls (I know...) and, thus, have the greatest effect on who replaces Beryer and Ginsburg.

PS Likely voters may also understand it's less about contraception than abrogation of the First Amendment.

traditionalguy said...

The only poll that counts only needs 5 votes.

John M Auston said...

Do we as a people think taking race into account — for purportedly benevolent purposes — is good or bad?

Other than in the case of a description of the suspect (still on the loose) in a crime, can you name me a 'benevolent purpose' for which taking race into account is appropriate? I can't think of one.

Chip S. said...

So mandatory insurance coverage for contraceptives is now on a par with affirmative action as a politcial/judicial concern?

Just goes to show the power the MSM still have to control the narrative.

Lem said...

for purportedly benevolent purposes..

Are "benevolent purposes" contradictory and subject to shifting political winds?

When I think of "benevolent purposes" I think charity.

If we polled charity I believe few people would be against it.

Also, in my mind the word "benevolent" in this context connotes a kind of benign dictatorship.. the way God might be benevolent.

Chip S. said...

Lem, You got me to look up the meanings of "benevolence":

1. disposition to do good

2. a : an act of kindness
b : a generous gift

3. a compulsory levy by certain English kings with no other authority than the claim of prerogative


The difference between defs. 1 and 2 seems to get to the heart of the argument.

Def. 3 adds an interesting dimension to the word in the context of affirmative action.

traditionalguy said...

Ergo, there are 76% of likely voters who are racists. See how easy political analysis can be.

John Smith said...

Hey, here's an insane idea, college aid should be based on need And scholarship, with scholarship coming first.

Saint Croix said...

What's fascinating to me is that a lot of Rick Santorum's rise is coming from Republican women. See, for instance, the chart in this Washington Post story.

The liberal story is that women are pro-choice, and men are pro-life. What horseshit.

Abortion is part of the Playboy philosophy!

No, some men are pro-life, but a lot of women are. Especially in Republican poitics.

So talking about abortion and babies and issues important to women has been a net boon to Santorum in the primary.

Of course all four Republicans are pro-life. This idea that pro-lifers won't vote for Romney is ridiculous.

A.B.O.

But Santorum's willingness to speak his mind, and his heart, hasn't hurt him among Republican women. To the contrary, it's helped him. As he does so, he solidifies the belief that he is sincere and can be trusted.

So Republicans have to decide, which is more likely to hurt us in November. Will the media be able to portray Santorum as anti-birth control? Or portray Romney as hostile to the poor and the working class?

Lem said...

Obamacare is a purported benevolence.. but its complicated web of control is contradictory of freedom and choice.
no matter how they might try to dress it up.. it is what it is.

A purported benevolence.

Our lady of sacred purported benevolence.

I haven't looked it up but the word "purports" has a enough doubt connected to it that just does not complement.. goes well together with "benevolence".

Its like you have to sell it.. purported benevolence.. affirmative action. it doesn't sell itself.

Chip S. said...

If there were true discrimination, then affirmative action would be a benevolence for schools or employers themselves, as it would induce them to overcome the biases that hinder their admission or hiring practices.

That doesn't seem to be what the defenders of affirmative action have in mind.

edutcher said...

traditionalguy said...

The only poll that counts only needs 5 votes.

Man, there's a depressing thought.

(can't have that Yellowstone thing go too soon (sorry, Ann, didn't mean to step on your toes...))

Lem said...

If the sellers of affirmative action were to device a lifetime policy, an end game, a sunset provision.. would that negate the need for it in the first place?

Maybe thats why its eventual demise is not even in the cards..

I mean I really dont know.. and haven't thought about it enough because I'm biased against the whole scheme to begin with.

Chip S. said...

"The only poll that counts only needs 5 votes."

Man, there's a depressing thought.


Not so much depressing as it is missing the entire point of the post, which is...How much does public opinion influence those 9 votes, and now is public opinion shaped?

Chip S. said...

or "how", if that makes more sense.

traditionalguy said...

Affirmative Action has a constituency that fights for it and the rest of the folks are hesitant to be against it because of a long ago and far away history.

I heard somewhere that the in 1805 the British Government created a new position at Dover to keep a man with a telescope pointed towards France 24/7 with signal lamps in case Napoleon invaded. It was 1945 before that position was eliminated.

Chip S. said...

Nice anecdote about government inefficiency, but I don't see the relevance to AA unless every telescope minder had to be Welsh or something.

Anyway, given the premise of the OP, which is that AA in admissions is supported by only 24% of likely voters, I don't know what basis there is to claim that "the rest of the folks are hesitant to be against it...."

Alex said...

I have to hand it to the liberals. Now they've created so many brilliant memes.

* Republicans wage ware on the 99% in favor of the 1%

* Republicans hate gays

* Republican want to ban contraception and abortion

The sad thing is there are plenty of Republican politicians who validate these memes.

Alex said...

Chip - good point about AA, driven mostly by white guilt.

Lem said...

Tradguy was referring to how government programs.. like affirmative action.. once enacted never sunset.. never end.. even when its purported benevolence has obviously ended.

Alex said...

Lem - white liberals are scared shitless of proposing to phase out AA in fear of being called RACIST!!!!

Chip S. said...

I think "white guilt" is actually a charitable explanation. Seems more like an unsavory combination of standard vote buying and a belief that blacks are unable to compete on a level playing field.

We should stop conceding the term "affirmative action" to describe racial quotas. "Affirmative action" in the sense of taking pains to make sure you give due consideration to minority or poor applicants--including, e.g., targeted recruiting efforts--seems fine to me. Blatantly different admissions or hiring standards are entirely different, and hugely counterproductive.

n.n said...

The prevailing conception of progress is regressive. It represents a pre-enlightenment state of mind, where individual dignity was not favored and rarely preserved. The circumstances surrounding the "original compromise" and other so-called "minority" causes are neither unique nor restricted to them. If we pursue this path, we risk a recurring Tutsi slaughter Hutu slaughter Tutsi cycle of development.

That said, it is a profitable enterprise, which both the providers and intended beneficiaries will seek to protect its authority.

Seven Machos said...

The solution to affirmative action is very simple in education is very simple (and it's probably going to come to fruition soon). However, the Supremes could expedite the process by making a ruling that goes like this:

1. As we have held ad nauseum, race-based discrimination under government auspices is judged under strict scrutiny, which means in practice that race-based discrimination under government auspices is almost always unconstitutional.

2. As we have also held ad nauseum, economic discrimination is judged under rational relation, which means in practice that race-based discrimination under government auspices is almost always constitutionally acceptable.

3. In this case, we deem race-based affirmative action unconstitutional.

4. We note that it is a sad but obvious fact that the bloc of people in this country typically deemed as black or African-American suffers notably poorer than average economic circumstances. The same goes for many other blocs of people with similar ostensibly racial characteristics.

5. In the future, if colleges focus as much energy on making opportunity for economically disadvantaged people of all pallors as they now do on race, we suggest that they will end up with a student profile that captures the same basic multicultural and multi-ethnic composition for which they have heretofore unconstitutionally striven.

Seven Machos said...

#2 should read ecomonically-based, not race-based.

joated said...

"I have a dream...."
It's about time we listened to that dream.

Bender said...

The idea that black people cannot succeed and advance and prosper without the help of the white man is one of those insidious badges and incidents of slavery that continue to exist.

To ask a person what color he is before the law will provide its protection is by its nature unequal. It is none of government's damn business.

Bruce Hayden said...

I would somewhat agree, with the proviso that it isn't as much the rank and file Blacks here, but probably more their leadership.

What we are talking about here is mostly a spoils system, with a certain percentage of admissions, hirings, etc. going to Blacks, Hispanics, etc. And, this is near and dear to the hearts of the leadership of these groups because they, and not their constituents, are the primary beneficiaries of these preferences and quotas.

One big thing that is rarely mentioned is that the Harvard, Yale, etc. minority slots are not going to the poor inter city blacks, but rather, to the minority kids who were essentially raised white, going to the right schools, etc. This way, the schools can portray themselves as socially enlightened, while not harming their student body by admitting those who could not do the work, no mater how much they have special coaching, etc.

Let me suggest that the high rate of disapproval here is due to so many likely voters understanding that AA is a racial spoils system, and that the big victims there are the less well-to-do Whites, etc. who are bumped to allow more elite minorities to attend in their places.

Oh, and a lot of us had ancestors who fought on the winning side of the Civil War, and never condoned Jim Crow in its aftermath. Or, immigrated to this country well after the emancipation of the slaves. It isn't really their problem, but rather, of the Democratic party that actively supported oppression of Blacks for 2/3 of its 200+ years of existence, and now wants to make amends for their past behavior, but, as usual for them, not at their own cost, but at the expense of everyone else.

Rusty said...

because nearly everyone in this country is worried about being labeled a racist.

Not really. The accusation has been used to death and lost it's cache'(pronounced-cash-hay). Sort of like being called poo-poo duty head by your 4 year old kid.

Chip S. said...

The word you seem to have in mind is cachet.

A cache (pronounced "cash") is a storage locale (pronounced "low cal").

bgates said...

If likely voters fret about access to contraception, they may lean toward Obama: He'd better appoint the next couple Justices.

Because if Santorum wins, and he decides (contrary to what he has said in the past) that the government should ban contraception, and he submits Supreme Court nominees on that basis, and the Senate approves nominees who seem to think bans on contraception would be constitutional, and the government of a state actually bans contraceptives, then the Supreme Court would hold the law unconstitutional by 7-2 instead of the 9-0 vote which would occur otherwise.

Alex said...

Guys nothing to worry about. Santorum is not going to win the nomination, much less beat Obama. Why are we going on about a fantasy President? Even Romney doesn't have better then 40% chance of winning.

tim maguire said...

My biggest problem with affirmative action is that it lavishes nearly all its benefits on people who are already a success under the current system.

A race-based crony capitalism, a payoff to the minority 1%.

I think most people here want a meritocracy and I think it's inarguable that people applying to college or not doing it from a level playing field.

The effort to convert this country into a more perfect meritocracy requires that this be taken into account and people who have overcome more get some points for their struggle. T

hat is, if admissions has to choose between a middle class child of married college graduates who has an SAT score only marginally better than a poor child of a single uneducated parent, they would be making a mistake and committing an injustice to favor the first applicant over the second.

But I don't see how blind race-advantaging helps anything.

Saint Croix said...

If likely voters fret about access to contraception, they may lean toward Obama

So?

If voters fret that Obama is a secret Muslim who will order women to walk nine feet behind men, they may vote for McCain.

Are we actually going to worry what the conspiracy-minded paranoid think?

I'm talking to you, George Stephanopoulos!

No, wait, he was afraid it was Mitt Romney who was behind the secret anti-contraception cabal.

His diabolic plot decoder ring must have been on the fritz.

Paco Wové said...

"The word you seem to have in mind is cachet."

And it's doody-head, not duty head.

Paul said...

Hell Ann,

Obama WAS an 'affirmative action' student in college and see what we got for a president?

Pat said...

If likely voters fret about access to contraception, they may lean toward Obama: He'd better appoint the next couple Justices. But if they can be made to worry about affirmative action — based on that Rasmussen poll — perhaps they'll think: Better give the appointments to Romney/Santorum.

What? That doesn't make any sense at all. Republicans have no intention to overturn access to contraception, unless you are talking about the "three-months later" contraception called abortion.

Matthew said...

How's the saying go?

Try to avoid doing something bad (or not doing something good) for good reasons, because that makes it all the more likely you'll do it for bad reasons.

Not going with adults is odd, but doesn't Rasmussen normally go with likely voters (one of the reasons it skews more R than D, compared to other polling firms, which rely on adults rather than likely voters)?

Or, maybe, it was a part of an overall battery of polls, and so they needed likely voters for the other questions, and instead of trying to create two samples, just used the same one?